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Lawmaker calls for climate labelling on all food

UK MP Sarah Newton made the demand during a Westminster debate on achieving targets for zero emissions.

This article is powered by EU Food Law

A UK lawmaker has called on the country’s government to require all food products for sale to the public to display their carbon footprint on their labels.

Sarah Newton, an MP for Truro and Falmouth in southwest England, said the requirement would “help consumers make smarter choices when shopping and get companies measuring the carbon footprint of individual products”.

Newton spoke at a debate in Parliament on the UK Government’s ambitious net zero emissions target this week. The MP called the debate in order to ask the Government to publish a roadmap to net zero and to bring forward new policies to achieve the target.

“In June this year, the UK became the first major economy to pass legislation requiring the elimination of its net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, thus ending its contribution to climate change,” Newton said.

“The UK is a world leader on clean growth, with the fastest per-capita decarbonisation and economic growth rate in the G7. However, stronger policies are needed if the UK is to get on track to meeting its net zero target,” she adds.

In the debate, Newton argued that the whole of society, including individuals, businesses, and government, has a role to play in meeting net zero. She said that carbon footprint information should be on labels of all food products as well electronic goods and other items for direct sale to the public.

“The UK is a world leader on clean growth, with the fastest per-capita decarbonisation and economic growth rate in the G7. However, stronger policies are needed if the UK is to get on track to meeting its net zero target" - Sarah Newton MP

She concluded her speech by noting, “the climate change movement fails when it fails to bring people with it. As we saw in France, we have to make it clear why action to tackle climate change matters and ensure people aren’t left behind as we transition to new cleaner industries”.

In a debate in March this year, delegates were told that a simple climate labelling scheme was “a long way off”.

“It has got to be measurable and validated,” Professor Ian Crute, former chief scientist of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, told the meeting organised by the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI). “Something that is simple for consumers would be good but we are miles away from it,” he told the audience.

Newton this week said that climate labelling would show that people’s protests for climate action was manifesting in solutions.

“It can’t just be about distant international summits with acronyms that few people understand,” Newton said.

“When the UK hosts the international UN climate summit in Glasgow next year, it must ensure that every sector of society, everyone is involved in the conversation. With an issue as big as climate change, we need everyone’s collective brainpower to find the right solutions and we must have everyone on board if we hope to implement them.”

 

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